Lionsgate Motion Picture Group co-chairmen Rob Friedman and Patrick Wachsberger will be honored with the motion picture showmanship award at the International Cinematographers Guild’s (ICG) 51st annual Publicists Awards Luncheon Feb. 28, at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel.
The award will recognize Friedman and Wachsberger’s career achievements, including their recent contributions as part of a Lionsgate senior management team that has led the company’s evolution into a global content leader.
“Their combined skills in all aspects of motion picture production and distribution, domestically and internationally, have established Lionsgate as a major force at the worldwide box office,” said Henri Bollinger, awards committee chairman. “Their films have achieved a remarkable track record of commercial success and critical recognition.”
“These are two of the nicest guys in the business with an uncanny ability to find the right property and make it a success,” ICG president Steven Poster said.
Since becoming co-chairmen of Lionsgate’s Motion Picture Group following the company’s January 2012 acquisition of Summit Entertainment, Friedman and Wachsberger led Lionsgate’s feature film slate to a record $2.5 billion at the worldwide box office last year, ranking among the top five studios. Lionsgate also became the first studio outside the traditional majors to top the $1 billion mark at the domestic box office.
The studio has maintained its feature film momentum this year with a string of box office successes, including the surprise worldwide hit Now You See Me, and it is poised to close out the year with the second installment of the Hunger Games franchise, The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, on Nov. 22.
Before joining Lionsgate, Friedman and Wachsberger led Summit Entertainment’s evolution into one of the premiere independent filmed entertainment studios, launching the blockbuster Twilight Saga franchise, whose five films grossed more than $3.3 billion at the worldwide box office, and The Hurt Locker, the 2010 Academy Award winner for best picture and best director.
Friedman has been part of the management teams of major studios and independents during his 40-year entertainment industry career, serving as co-chairman of the Lionsgate Motion Picture Group, co-chairman and chief executive officer of Summit Entertainment, vice chairman and chief operating officer of Paramount Pictures and president of worldwide advertising and publicity at Warner Bros. where, during his 27-year tenure, he shepherded such iconic films as Batman, the Lethal Weapon franchise, Chariots of Fire, Unforgiven and Driving Miss Daisy. He is also founding member and chairman of the board of the 2015 Special Olympics World Summer Games organizing committee.
Before joining Lionsgate in 2012, Wachsberger served as the co-chairman and president of Summit Entertainment, the company he helped launch in 1993, and CEO of Summit International. With more than 30 years’ experience in the production, distribution and exhibition business, he helped build Summit into one of the world’s most successful international sales and distribution companies.
Wachsberger is also known for producing Paul Haggis’ In the Valley of Elah starring Tommy Lee Jones, Charlize Theron and Susan Sarandon. His past producing credits include Touchstone‘s Step Up and the Brad Pitt–Angelina Jolie blockbuster Mr. & Mrs. Smith. His executive producer credits include Wrong Turn, Vanilla Sky, The Loss of Sexual Innocence and Bad Lieutenant. Prior to running Summit Entertainment, Wachsberger served as president and CEO of Odyssey Entertainment and Odyssey Distributors, as well as president of J&M Entertainment, a leading foreign sales company.
Other awards to be presented at the February luncheon include the television showmanship award; the press award; the international media award; the Maxwell Weinberg awards, which recognize outstanding accomplishment in the field of publicity; the Les Mason award, given to a publicist for lifetime achievement, and the Bob Yeager award, which recognizes significant community service.